October 3, 2022

SEHWAN:

Flood-affected families started returning to their homes after the water showed signs of receding, as the international aid continued to pour in on Monday, while Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif called for focusing on the plight of children in the relief effort.

Sindh Irrigation Minister Jam Khan Shoro confirmed reports that the floodwater in Manchar lake receded further after its release into the Indus river continued at a faster pace. He added that the situation on the right bank of the Indus would normalise soon.

At Monday noon, the Manchar level had come down to 120 feet. The inflow at Kotri Barrage, the last barrage on the Indus river system, was 259,517 cusecs while the outflow was recorded at 229,722 cusecs.

persons (IDPs) were also seen moving back to their villages since Sunday evening. “A few families have left for their homes,” a volunteer at a girls’ college in Hyderabad’s Qasimabad locality told The Express Tribune on Monday.

“Others feel they can go back very soon, but I don’t know how and when,” he added. However, roads in several areas remain inundated, with families using boats to return to their homes, especially in areas near Mehar and Khairpur Nathan Shah in the Dadu district.

floods in Pakistan, particularly in Sindh and Balochistan, have left families separated and distressed. Thousands of people from the Dadu district were forced to leave their homes.

Several friendly countries and international organisations mobilised their resources to help the 3.3 million affected people up and down the country. The arrival of international aid continued on Monday.

The United States, which had pledged more than $50 million in aid, announced an additional $2 million for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for its flood response efforts in Pakistan.

“We are pleased to announce $2 million in humanitarian assistance to support UNHCR’s flood response, providing lifesaving items to flood-affected Pakistanis and Afghan refugees in three provinces and helping to rebuild communities,” US Ambassador Donald Blome said.

The additional funding comes on top of the existing US contribution of $33 million for UNHCR’s planned programmes in 2022, aimed at strengthening livelihoods, boosting the capacity of national education and health facilities in refugee-hosting communities.

 

In response to flooding, the UNHCR is on the ground distributing life-saving support in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan for Afghan refugees and their host communities, while also rushing relief items to the flood-hit areas in Sindh.

“As relief arrives in the country, the focus has to remain on getting assistance out to affected communities as fast as possible,” UNHCR Representative to Pakistan Noriko Yoshida said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif urged the world to take “swift action” to assist in rebuilding lives and future of the children, who have been affected by the floods. According to official data, over 500 children have died and around 16 million children are affected by the floods.

“Global conversation on Pakistan’s flood devastation should focus on the plight of children. Disaster has adversely affected millions of children with over 500 dead. Let these children not be an arithmetic but a clarion call for swift action to rebuild their lives & future,” he tweeted.

The United Nations children agency, Unicef, has said that the “Super floods” in Pakistan have left 3.4 million children in need of “immediate, lifesaving support.” Following a visit to Sindh, UNICEF’s Pakistan Representative Abdullah Fadil said that 16 million children were impacted.

Separately, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said in its daily update that the toll from the floods since mid-June rose to 1,545 people, including 552 children. It added that 104,072 houses were damaged during the previous day and at least 8,252 head of cattle perished.

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